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James M. Cox


Toward Vernacular Humor

Spring 1970 | Articles

Humor itself is the first problem and had best be faced bluntly. First and last, humor is that form of life and literature which cannot be taken seriously. Whatever the sense of humor is, the non-sense of it is making it serious. Yet making it serious is the preoccupation of most critics—so much so that they evade the reality of humor wherever they confront it by means of shifty prepositional displacement, positing a prior reality "behind," "beneath," "beyond," or "above" the humorous surface.